Ugh. I still don't like the taste of that disgusting loss to Tampa Bay in my mouth. The only thing that will wash it out is the taste of victory (hmmmm, and I think that tastes like horse).
But before we can get to Sunday Night is Football Night, we have to review the Hot Reads, and that's what awaits you after the jump.
Primary Option: Protect Brees
What I'd like to see: The same thing I always want to see, a sack- and pressure-free game by the Saints o-line.
Well, he wasn't sacked and was only hit once, but the protection itself (as well as the run blocking) was absolutely pathetic. The Buccaneers were able to generate quite a bit of pressure and Drew Brees looked uncomfortable all day long. And if we aren't going to have effective play-calling and any sort of running game, this category now takes on utmost importance going forward, as I fear we're headed for another 2008-type of heartburn season.
Checkdown # 1: Penalties, Penalties, Penalties
What I'd like to see: The Saints have less penalties overall and less impactful penalties than Tampa Bay, providing a distinct advantage in the win.
When you look at the big picture, it was about even on number of penalties and yards with the Saints having a slight advantage in having less penalty yards, but a closer look reveals a bit more...
The Saints committed 7 penalties that were accepted by Tampa Bay for a total of 53 yards, while Tampa Bay was flagged 7 times for 64 yards in accepted penalties.
By my count, four of the New Orleans infractions were significant, and Olin Kreutz was responsible for two of them: first, a holding call negated a 17-yard gain on the Saints final drive of the first half, costing them yards and precious time on a drive that ended in a FG, and then in the second half, when the Saints had gotten a first down at the Tampa Bay 10, Kreutz false-started, putting them back to the 15, and the drive stalled at the six-yard line before John Kasay kicked his second and final FG of the game.
Charles Brown lined up incorrectly on first down in the second half, negating a 4-yard gain (turning a 2nd and 6 into a 1st and 15), and the Saints punted three plays later. The final penalty of consequence was the questionable unnecessary roughness penalty committed by Malcolm Jenkins. It gave an easy 15 yards to the Buccaneers on a drive that ended in a FG.
And, for the Bucs....crap. I'll just admit that I have no desire to study this anymore. Sorry. Here's what I can say. The Bucs didn't commit enough penalties to lose the game, that's for sure. And I'll also say this: I hate the Saints losing.
Checkdown # 2: Take It Away
What I'd like to see: The Saints play a giveaway-free game while taking the ball away three times from Tampa Bay, and subsequently getting a minimum of 17 points off those takeaways. While helping in the victory, it will also get them to even-steven for the season.
Hoo-boy, was I quite disappointed by what I saw on Sunday in relation to what I said I'd like to see. Not only did the Saints not take the ball away from Tampa Bay at all, but they coughed it up four times. We all know how devastating that was. Enough said. Ouch. Have I mentioned that I hate losing?
Safety Valve: Seeing Red
What I'd like to see: A 100% red zone TD percentage for the Saints on at least five trips inside the 20. And then an "oh-fer" for Tampa Bay.
The Saints also stunk up the joint in the Red Zone. Although the Saints tied with Tampa Bay on the number of Red Zone touchdowns scored (1), the Saints got inside their 20-yard line three other times with only one field goal to show for it. Ugh. It certainly couldn't have gotten much uglier on Sunday.
There's nowhere to go but up? (He says hopefully...)
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Chime in below if you'd like. I'll pop back in and see what's up, and start thinking up some good Hot Reads for the Colts game.